Goat Girl talk Facebook, DIY music, and not rebuilding London's indie scene

‘When you talk about a scene you think about similar-sounding music... but everyone in south London has their own style’

Roisin O'Connor
Friday 20 January 2017 12:24 GMT
The DIY band recently signed with label Rought Trade. L-R: Naima (Naima Jelly), Lottie (Clottie Cream), Ellie (LED), Rosy (Rosy Bones)
The DIY band recently signed with label Rought Trade. L-R: Naima (Naima Jelly), Lottie (Clottie Cream), Ellie (LED), Rosy (Rosy Bones)

Goat Girl are currently one of the most talked-about new bands emerging from south London, but they're not really sure why.

We're sat in the Martini Hotel in Groningen for Eurosonic Noorderslag festival, waiting for our martinis to arrive.

Everyone cranes their necks to see if they're on the way, while the band fret over whether their manager will mind paying for them.

“I don't know how people know us,” Naima [bass] says slowly.

“I understand now we’re signed why people have heard of us,” singer Lottie says. “It’s weird how much that changes things, when you get signed.”

“Before we used to get by purely on word of mouth,” Ellie [guitar] adds. “That was nice. Then we got Facebook, and it’s alright but we didn’t really want to but it felt like we had to. But they [the label] said we had to... was it Parquet Courts who don't have one?”

“I don’t really like much new stuff,” Rosy [drums] says. [artists the band mention include The Slits, Patti Smith, Billie Holiday]. “I don’t know how people are so on it with new bands.”

“I’m sure there’s loads of good stuff that I’m missing,” Lottie says, “but it demands quite a lot of hours on the internet staring at a screen and not buying stuff. Like you listen to one song and then move on.”

Goat Girl are reluctant to accept that social media is now considered “part of the job” of being in a band.

Apparently at a loss at what their label expect them to write, fans should expect to see one-word posts such as “willy” and “balls” adorning their wall, alongside announcements of their next gig.

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The band are looking forward to finishing their new website, which sounds as though it will contain more of the band's personality, along with their artwork (they all paint).

“We all do our own stuff, our own music, our own art. It's nice that we have our own thing outside of that,” Ellie says. “When you're in a band you have to compromise.”

Do they find that difficult?

“Sometimes,” they say almost in unison, laughing.

DIY bands like INHEAVEN and Goat Girl practise a “back to basics” way of working – the former making their own zines, handing out flyers and homemade band T-shirts.

“I think it's quite nice to have a physical thing when there's so much on the internet,” Rosy says. “People don't really have that thing they can take away from gigs anymore, so it's nice when you get handmade zines and stuff... it reminds you of a time or a night. Whereas the internet's not like that. It's not very nostalgic.

"We did some hand-drawn stuff at a single launch, and I wanted to start doing that more seriously – screen-printing and stuff like that. All unique.”

“Where are our drinks?” Lottie grumbles, and we all look over at the bar again.

The band were unhappy with a recent profile that suggested they were “rebuilding London's indie scene” without help from industry people, which quoted Lottie as saying there were no promoters at their gigs.

“You did not say that,” Ellie says to Lottie, who nods.

“The article was idealised, and that’s the whole thing with DIY, it’s important not to do that,” Lottie says. “There are loads of people like our manager and promoters like Tim Perry [booker for The Windmill, where Goat Girl often perform] that hold this whole thing together, not just these 19-year-old kids.

“It didn’t take into account how vast the music is in south London. And even the people we play with, I wouldn’t say that we’re leading them. No way.”

“I’d say the reason it’s misconceived as a ‘scene’ is because everyone does know each other, which is really nice... but it’s not like we’re all best mates,” Naima says. ”There’s people that you recognise from different venues and different gigs which is really nice… but the way it’s portrayed by the media is completely over exaggerated.”

“When you talk about a 'scene' you think about similar-sounding music,” Lottie says, “but everyone there has their own style."

They see it more as a rich, diverse area for music that has been present for some time, but recently became the subject of new media attention.

“They say it every single year about a new band, that they’re starting something new, which is fine, but it’s important not to take that too seriously,” Lottie nods.

They’re all completely agreed that they don’t want to be viewed as a “female band” – they got together because they wanted to play music, not because they were all girls – they don't set themselves apart from the guys.

“Most bands are guys,” Ellie says. “We didn't join together because we were all girls, it just happened like that.”

Our drinks have finally arrived; everyone takes them outside and downs them in between drags on a cigarette before clambering back into a bus to the artists' village.

Later they'll play a packed-out set: Lottie singing in her Jesus and Mary Chain-esque deadpan on songs by a band that, sure, maybe aren't rebuilding any kind of scene in London. But they're pretty f**king cool.

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